Preparing for a Criminal Casecase

Preparing for a criminal case – There are many misconceptions about attorneys and the work that they do. We hear these misconceptions all the time. This is not the fault of potential clients – they just don’t know how a lot of the processes work.  One of the things people assume is that, because they don’t see what is going on, nothing is going on.

Additionally, some people might see an attorney walk into a courtroom, only be there for a short time and the case either gets dismissed or ends in a plea offer that happened very quickly and think the attorney didn’t work on it long. In this blog we will take you through a little bit of behind the scenes work in what’s involved in preparing for a criminal case

What do criminal defense attorneys do when they first get a case?

This is going to vary depending on the attorney but typically once we are hired for a criminal case, we do a little bit of research on the charges themselves. No matter how many times we have dealt with that particular charge we research it again because things change all the time.  Here are a few things that we look for:

  • What is the applicable statute?
  • What are the elements of that crime?
  • What class is the crime for sentencing purposes?**

** This relates to either Misdemeanor sentencing, Felony Sentencing or Federal sentencing.

Immediately after this, if applicable, we do a little research on the case in particular, such as:

  • Reading all the charging documents
  • Finding out the prosecutor is
  • Requesting discovery or additional information
  • Determining the strengths and weaknesses of the case

What do criminal defense attorneys do when they know a case is going to trial?

In this case, there is a deeper dive into facts.  Criminal trials, in essence, are about whether or not the state or federal government can tell a convincing enough story for the defendant to be found guilty of the alleged crime.

In order to be prepared for this, criminal defense lawyers get as much information as possible. Some of this is through regular discovery procedure but a lot of it comes from the client, independent investigations, and asking questions of potential witnesses who might be subpoenaed.

This is all in an attempt to have as much information possible to craft the best possible defense for our clients.

There is a lot of work that occurs outside of the courtroom

Contrary to what some people want to believe, criminal defense attorneys spend a lot more time working on a client’s case than they see.  If it looks easy in court, chances are it is because that criminal defense attorney spent several hours preparing, and is ready to deal with whatever happens.

There is a lot more to criminal matters than meets the eye. If you have been charged with a crime, contact us to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.